Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) technique is competent to trace detection of target species, down to the single molecule level. The detection sensitivity is presumably degraded by the presence of non-specific binding molecules that occupy a SERS-active site (or hot spot) on the substrate surface. In this study, a silver hollow nano-sphere (Ag HNS) with cavity has been particularly designed, followed by depositing dielectric nanoparticles (Di NPs) upon Ag HNS. In the integrated nanostructures, Di NPs/Ag HNS were furthermore confirmed by cutting through the cross sections using the Focused Ion Beam (FIB) technique, which provides the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with Energy-dispersive Spectroscope (EDS) mode for identifying the distribution of Di NPs upon Ag HNS. The results have indicated that Di NPs/Ag HNS exhibits small diameter of cavity, and among Di NPs in this study, Al2O3 with lower dielectric constant provides a much higher SERS enhancement factor (e.g., ~6.2 x 107). In this study, to detect trace amounts (e.g., 0.01 ppm) of Ampicillin in water or milk solution, Al2O3 NPs/Ag HNS was found to be more efficient and less influenced by non-specific binding molecules in milk. A substrate with integrated plasmonic and dielectric components was designed to increase the adsorption of target species and to repulse non-specific binding molecules from SERS-active sites.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry